Ebola waste: isn’t incineration enough?

Ebola waste is a huge problem, but fortunately the heat resistance of Ebola virus is not particularly great. Autoclave treatment would suffice, and of course incineration. Added to this is the newer small-scale Pyropure pyrolysis system that can be used close to the point of production thus limiting any potential for inadvertent spread of infection.

It seems that the US is making a bit of a meal of planning for Ebola waste management, but with so many government agencies and individual states setting their own standards, its perhaps not unexpected. Despite this, no doubt all will work well, and those managing Ebola waste will remain safe.

Of course, public opinion can sway matters.

“US states refuse to take incinerated Ebola waste with fear – not science – blamed for leaving ashes in limbo a month after items belonging to Thomas Duncan were burned.

“It took a crew 38 hours to clear out the Dallas apartment where a Liberian man was staying before he was diagnosed with Ebola in September. Workers in protective suits piled shoes, carpets, mattresses, bed sheets and clothes into 140 55-gallon drums. Only a few items were salvaged: a computer hard drive, legal documents, family photos, an old Bible belonging to Thomas Duncan’s grandmother.

“The drums were packed, decontaminated and then carted away by Cleaning Guys environmental services employees.
The contents were incinerated. But nearly a month later, the ashes sit in limbo at a facility in Port Arthur, Texas, according to Veolia North America, the company that owns the facility, as Louisiana officials fight to keep it out of a landfill there.

“While the federal Centres for Disease Control and Prevention says incinerated Ebola waste poses no danger, Louisiana officials have asked a judge to block the waste of Mr Duncan from entering the state, saying they wanted to determine for themselves that it was not dangerous. A hearing is scheduled for November 5.

“The unresolved fate of the ashes highlights the problem American hospitals and communities could face in disposing of their own Ebola waste.Hospitals routinely deal with hazardous medical waste, sealing, transporting and disposing of vials of HIV-infected blood or boxes of used syringes.

“But Ebola waste is more problematic because of the intense fear of the virus and the sheer amount of the waste, which could include patients’ clothes, their mattresses and scores of protective outfits worn and discarded by medical workers.

Read more at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/11202825/US-states-refuse-to-take-incinerated-Ebola-waste.html




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